By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
In the Sea there are Crocodiles
By Fabio Geda (David Fickling Books, $24.95, hardcover, 211 pages)
You were probably with loved ones when you were 10 years old. That was not the case with Enaiatollah Akbari.
One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things he must never do: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons and don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find her gone and he’s left alone to fend for himself in Pakistan.
Perseverance is the key to Enaiat’s courage in the face of fear. He undertakes manipulative tasks for paltry wages to pay people-traffickers to take him to Iran, Turkey, Greece and finally Italy where he gains asylum five years later.
Here he meets Fabio Geda, a novelist working with troubled children, who takes his story and moulds it into a sad, but evocative piece of fiction.
From the opening page you feel his sense of loss, a dislocation, the need to belong.
While many of Enaiat’s experiences are horrific, there are clear pictures of his determination and times of suffering tinged with joy and laughter. After the brutality and avarice of Taliban and traffickers, kind-hearted acts are a salve, restoring hope in humanity.
From Iran he’s repatriated twice, the promised three-day trek becomes a marathon of a month between Iran and Turkey, being squeezed into enclosed spaces such as false bottoms of trucks and going from Turkey to Greece involves rowing in a dinghy.
Nevertheless, Enaiat makes friends with those in similar positions, maintains a positive vivacious tone and is more engaging than a piteous hero.
Translated from Italian by Howard Curtin, it is heartening to see the patient endurance, resolve and accomplishment from someone who shows up our world as paradise.
This story is distressing, but enlightening and is told honestly in a style that will bring tears of joy and sorrow.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.